Donald R. McClarey

Cradle Catholic. Active in the pro-life movement since 1973. Father of three and happily married for 26 years. Small town lawyer. President of the board of directors of the local crisis pregnancy center.

Donald Trump and William Jennings Bryan

 

Attempting to draw historical parallels is usually perilous, especially when the person doing so clearly does not understand the period he is seeking to draw a parallel with.  Such is the case with Arthur Levine in the New York Daily News:

On Election Day, the United States voted for the past over the future. In 1896, at the height of the Industrial Revolution, there was a comparable election. It was a time of transition in which clashing visions of America — one agrarian and waning and the other industrial and rising — battled for the soul of the nation. It was a period of dramatic demographic, economic and technological change, producing deep political and social divisions, growing concentrations of wealth and gridlock in government.

William Jennings Bryan, the defender of agrarian America, and William McKinley, the champion of industrialization, contested for the presidency. McKinley won.

In the 2016, presidential election, the reverse happened. Donald Trump, the contemporary Bryan, won.

The context is similar. Once again, America is in the midst of an economic, demographic, technological and global transformation as the country transitions from a national, analog industrial economy to a global, digital information economy.

As in 1896, the country is divided, pained and angry. The poor are poorer and the rich are richer. The number of have-nots is expanding and the number of haves is shrinking. The manufacturing and Industrial Age jobs, demanding no more than a high school diploma, that promised salaries, dreams and hopes sufficient to support a family, are vanishing.

In their stead, there are now knowledge-economy jobs, requiring the highest levels of education in history. The college education required to get those jobs leaves our children with massive student-loan debt.

At the same time, as in the previous transformation, the nation’s social institutions — government, education, media and the rest — appear to be part of the problem rather than the solution. Having been created for an Industrial Age, they are outdated and seem to be dysfunctional. They need to be redesigned for a global, digital, information economy.

As in 1896, the 2016 election gave Americans a choice of restoring what had been lost or building on the changes. It gave them a choice of attempting to repair the existing institutions or replacing them. The nation chose to restore the past and replace our leadership, electing for the first time a candidate who had never held political or military office. Continue reading

Quotes Suitable for Framing: Abraham Lincoln

quote-character-is-like-a-tree-and-reputation-like-a-shadow-the-shadow-is-what-we-think-of-it-the-tree-abraham-lincoln-112628

 

The very next day, somebody was discussing with him the difference between character and reputation, when he said,—with a look at me, as if to remind of what he had been talking about the day before,—perhaps a man’s character was like a tree, and his reputation like its shadow; the shadow is what we think of; the tree is the real thing.

Noah Brooks, newspaper correspondent and friend of Abraham Lincoln, recalling a statement by Lincoln

PopeWatch: Chaput

PopeWatch2-199x300-199x300-199x300

 

 

Sandro Magister notes at his blog Chiesa that while Pope Francis is remaining mum in regard to the demand of the Four Cardinals for clarification on Amoris Laetitia, his ecclesiastical hounds are baying:

ROME, November 23, 2016 – Not one word has come from the mouth of Pope Francis after four cardinals publicly asked him to resolve five major “doubts” raised by the most controversial passages of “Amoris Laetitia”:

> “Seeking Clarity.” The Appeal of Four Cardinals To the Pope

Or better, the pope has given a non-answer, when in the interview with Stefania Falasca for the November 18 edition of “Avvenire” he said at a certain point, using the familiar “tu” form of address with the interviewer, a longstanding friend of his:

“Some – think of certain replies to ‘Amoris Laetitia’ – still fail to understand, it’s either black or white, even thought it is in the flux of life that one must discern.”

To make up for this, not a few churchmen of the pope’s circle have come forward to speak for him, falling over themselves to say that the post-synodal exhortation “Amoris Laetitia” is already perfectly clear in itself and cannot give rise to doubts, and therefore those who are raising them are in reality attacking the pope and disobeying his magisterium.

The standout of these garrulous sorties is Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, already repeatedly indicated by Pope Francis as his authorized interpreter and chief custodian of Church doctrine, with all due respect to Cardinal Gerhard L. Müller, whose role as prefect of the congregation for the doctrine of the faith has by now been reduced to a mere honorary title.

But the most unrestrained has been another cardinal and a newbie to the scarlet, Kevin J. Farrell of the United States, who said in an interview with the “National Catholic Reporter”:

“‘Amoris Laetitia’ is the Holy Spirit speaking. I believe we should take it as it is. That will be the guiding document without a doubt for the years to come. I honestly don’t see what and why some bishops seem to think that they have to interpret this document.”

So they are in the wrong who want Francis to weigh in again. “I believe that the pope has spoken” enough, Farrell added, when on September 5 he gave his approval to the exegesis of “Amoris Laetitia’ made by the Argentine bishops of the region of Buenos Aires, according to whom it just so happens that there are civilly divorced and remarried persons who may receive communion even while continuing to live “more uxorio.”

Farrell was made a cardinal by Pope Jorge Mario Bergoglio in the consistory of last November 19. And since last August he has been prefect of the new Vatican dicastery for laity, family and life.

He is therefore one of the new faces of Pope Francis’s new curia. A curia that – as is continually repeated – should no longer suppress but rather foster the multiform “creativity” of each bishop in his respective diocese.

In reality the opposite has happened here. In another interview – this time with “Catholic News Service,” the agency of the episcopal conference of the United States – Farrell took it into his head to attack “ad personam” an illustrious bishop and fellow countryman, whose “offense” would be precisely that of having offered his diocese guidelines for the implementation of “Amoris Laetitia” that were evidently not to Farrell’s liking.

The target of the attack is not a nobody. He is Charles J. Chaput, archbishop of Philadelphia, the city that in 2015 hosted the world meeting of families that Pope Francis went to visit (see photo).

Chaput is a Franciscan and the first bishop of the United States born in a tribe of Native Americans. Pastoral care of the family is one of his recognized areas of expertise. He participated in the synod on the family and at the end of its second and final session he was elected by a landslide as one of the twelve members of the council of cardinals and bishops that acts as a bridge between one synod and another.

In Farrell’s judgment, however, he has the defect of having dictated to his priests and faithful guidelines that are “closed,” instead of “open” as Pope Francis wants.

“I don’t share the view of what Archbishop Chaput did, no,” said the new Vatican prefect of pastoral care of the family. “The Church cannot react by closing the doors before we even listen to the circumstances and the people. That’s not the way to go.”

Chaput reacted to the incredible attack with a concise counter-interview with “Catholic News Service,” presented in its entirety in Italian and English in this post of “Settimo Cielo”:

> Il papa tace, ma il neocardinale suo amico parla e accusa. Non c’è pace su “Amoris laetitia”

But what is more interesting to inspect up close is the matter of contention, meaning the guidelines offered by Chaput to his archdiocese of Philadelphia.

They are reproduced in their entirety below. These are indeed clear, without the shadow of a doubt.

Continue reading

Burning the Flag, Trump and our Black Robed Masters

 

 

Trump is catching flack for tweeting that flag burning should be against the law and that those who do should suffer a penalty, for example a year in jail or loss of citizenship.  Of course the idea that those who burn the flag should be subject to severe criminal penalties would have been non-controversial throughout the vast majority of the history of the Republic.  It was not until Texas v. Johnson (1989), in a 5-4 decision that crossed ideological lines, that the Supreme Court found unconstitutional all anti-flag desecration laws.  The decision was a particularly silly example of a trend in the Court of confusing conduct and speech, and thus finding an action worthy of first amendment protection.  The lunacy of this, is that almost all conduct carries a speech component.  The Court picks and chooses the conduct it wishes to enshroud in constitutional protection.  Walking nude in public for example can be a form of protest.  Indeed, a group of Quaker women in colonial Boston engaged in a naked promenade to protest Puritan persecution of the Society of Friends.  Yet, the Supreme Court has declined to strike down laws that ban public nudity.  The Court thus designates itself the arbiter of what conduct should have legal protection.  I prefer that such a role be granted to legislatures.  Legislators can be voted out.  Supreme Court justices are frequently with us for generations as they grow old handing down the law to we lesser breeds.  Besides, it is easy to change the law, and hard to amend the Constitution, unless one happens to be one of our nine Platonic Guardians.  The Supreme Court, in effect, swiftly amends the Constitution each year by majority vote of the Court and the rest of us are left to deal with freedoms often infringed as a result, especially our most important freedom:  the right to rule ourselves.

 

 

 

iwo-jima-2nd-flag

 

 

 

Justin Trudeau and Fidel Castro

One source of consolation for all Americans is that Justin Trudeau, that source of hope for airheads everywhere, who hearted Castro after he assumed room temperature, is Canada’s problem not ours.  John Fund at National Review Online gives us the details:

Then there was Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau. The 46-year-old leader fondly recalled that his father, Pierre, when he was prime minister, had frequently visited with Castro. The younger Trudeau lauded Castro for supposed advances in health care, education, and literacy and described him as “a larger than life leader who served his people for almost half a century.” He confesses that he felt “deep sorrow” at Castro’s death, adding, “While a controversial figure, both Mr. Castro’s supporters and detractors recognized his tremendous dedication and love for the Cuban people who had a deep and lasting affection for ‘el Comandante.’”

Such willful blindness spurred other Twitter users to launch the tag #trudeaueulogies to mock the clueless Canadian leader. “While controversial, Darth Vader achieved great heights in space construction & played a formative role in his son’s life,” quipped Jason Markusoff, a correspondent for Canada’s Maclean’s magazine. Canadian sports commentator Mike Hogan added: “Today we mourn the loss of Norman Bates, a family man who was truly defined by his devotion to his mother.” Australian news columnist Rita Panahi wrote, “Although flawed, Hitler was a vegetarian who loved animals, was a contributor to the arts & proud advocate for Germany.”

Trudeau’s comments infuriated Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, the former chair of the House Foreign Relations Committee. Ros-Lehtinen had to flee Cuba as a small child with her family after Castro’s takeover. Speaking on CNN, she directly addressed Trudeau: I’ve been reading his sickening love letter to dead Fidel Castro and I’m thinking, ‘Sure, you did not lose a loved one to an execution squad. You did not lose a loved one to the gulags in Cuba. . . . The only thing that Fidel has been successful in has not been health or education, or human rights or democracy, it’s been holding on to power — which is easy to do when you don’t have elections.

The debate over Castro will rage on, but arguments over him should take account of how unusual a dictator he was. My colleague Andrew Stuttaford has noted at NRO that during the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962, Castro wanted to start a nuclear war. He urged Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev to launch a first strike against the United States. In a letter, Khrushchev felt compelled to talk his ally off the ledge thusly: Cuba would have burned in the fires of war. . . . We struggle against imperialism, not in order to die, but to draw on all of our potential, to lose as little as possible, and later to win more, so as to be a victor and make Communism triumph.

Lastly, for all of Castro’s ranting about the exploitive nature of capitalism, it takes a truly mercenary mind to come up with the schemes his regime employed to garner hard currency — from drug-running, to assassinations to, well, vampiric behavior. The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights reported in 1966 that 166 Cuban prisoners were executed on a single day in May of that year. But before they were killed, they were forced to undergo the forced extraction of an average of seven pints of blood from their bodies. This blood was sold to Communist Vietnam at a rate of $50 per pint. Those who underwent the bloodletting suffered cerebral anemia and a state of unconsciousness and paralysis. But that didn’t stop the executions; the victims were carried on a stretcher to the killing field where they were then shot.

Continue reading

PopeWatch: Fidel Castro

PopeWatch2-199x300-199x300-199x300

 

The Pope, among most world leaders, has issued a statement on the death of Fidel Castro:

 

During an appearance on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Rubio’s criticism of President Obama’s statement of condolence following the death of the former Cuban dictator was noted – he called it “pathetic” – but then interviewer Dana Bash pointed about that Pope Francis, too, had expressed sorrow.

“As a practicing Catholic, what’s your reaction to that?” Bash asked.

“Well, as a practicing Catholic, I believe in the theological authority of the Bishop of Rome – and that’s what Pope Francis is,” Rubio began. “On political matters, however, particularly on foreign policy issues, I don’t necessarily believe that that binds those of us in the faith in terms of issues of foreign policy. I still respect it, but this is a very different thing.”

Rubio questioned the validity of the comparison Bash had drawn.

“Pope Francis is the leader of a religious organization, the Roman Catholic Church,” he said. “Barack Obama is the president of the most powerful country in the world.”

The Pope’s response came in the form of a telegram to President Raul Castro acknowledging “the sad news of the death of your dear brother.”

“I express my sentiments of sorrow to Your Excellency and other family members of the deceased dignitary, as well as to the people of this beloved nation,” he wrote. “At the same time, I offer prayers to the Lord for his rest and I entrust the whole Cuban people to the maternal intercession of our Lady of the Charity of El Cobre, patroness of that country.” Continue reading

Messianic Prophecies: Isaiah 61: 1

Initiating our Advent look at Messianic prophecies for this year, a series which we began in Advent 2011 and continued in 2102, 2013, 2014 and 2015, the earlier posts of the series may be read here, here, here ,here, here, here, here, here , here here, here, here, here , here, here, here , here,   here, here here, here, here    and here, we come to Isaiah 61: 1:

[1] The spirit of the Lord is upon me, because the Lord hath anointed me: he hath sent me to preach to the meek, to heal the contrite of heart, and to preach a release to the captives, and deliverance to them that are shut up. Continue reading

PopeWatch: The Devil

PopeWatch2-199x300-199x300

 

 

The Pope recently in a sermon talked about Satan:

 

 

“He is a liar and what’s more is the father of lies, he generates lies and is a trickster. He makes you believe that if you eat this apple you will be like a God. He sells it to you like this and you buy it and in the end he tricks you, deceives you and ruins your life. ‘But father, what can we do to avoid being deceived by the devil?’ Jesus teaches us: never converse with the devil. One does not converse with him. What did Jesus do with the devil?  He chased him away, he asked his name but did not hold a dialogue with him.”

Pope Francis went on to explain how when Jesus was in the wilderness he defended himself when replying to the devil by using the Word of God and the Word of the Bible. Therefore, he said, we must never converse with this liar and trickster who seeks our ruin and who for this reason will be thrown into the abyss.

The Pope noted that the reading from Revelation describes how the Lord will judge the great and the lowly “according to their deeds” with the damned being thrown into the pool of fire and he said this is the “second death.”

“Eternal damnation is not a torture chamber. That’s a description of this second death: it is a death. And those who will not be received in the Kingdom of God, it’s because they have not drawn close to the Lord. These are the people who journeyed along their own path, distancing themselves from the Lord and passing in front of the Lord but then choosing to walk away from Him. Eternal damnation is continually distancing oneself from God. It is the worst pain, an unsatisfied heart, a heart that was created to find God but which, out of arrogance and self-confidence, distances itself from God.”

Pope Francis said distancing oneself from God who gives happiness and who loves us so much is the “fire” and the road to eternal damnation. Noting how the final image in the reading from Revelation ends with a vision of hope the Pope concluded his homily by saying if we open up our hearts with humility we too will have joy and salvation and will be forgiven by Jesus. Continue reading

The Mirror

 

 

Rod Serling was a political liberal, but he had Castro’s number in the above episode of the Twilight Zone that aired on October 20, 1961.

Advent Sermons of Saint Bernard of Clairvaux-Part I

 

 

This Advent we will look at Advent sermons of Saint Bernard of Clairvaux.  They are concise in words and huge in thought, a model for priests to strive to emulate:

 

 

THE solemnity of our Lord’s Nativity is indeed a great and glorious day, but a short one, and a short day calls for a short sermon.
No wonder if we make a short speech, since God the Father has made an abbreviated Word – Verbum abbreviatum. Would you know how long and how short is the Word He has made? This Word says, “I fill heaven and earth,” (Jer. xxiii. 24.) yet, now that “the Word is made flesh,” He is placed in a narrow manger. The Psalmist exclaimed, “From eternity and to eternity thou art God,” (Ps. lxxxix. 2.) yet, behold! He is a Child of a day. And why this? What necessity was there that the Lord of Majesty should so annihilate Himself, should thus humble Himself, thus abbreviate Himself, except to show that we should do in like manner? He now proclaims by example what He will one day preach in words “Learn of Me, for I am meek and humble of heart” and He does so that the Evangelist might be proved truthful when he said of this Word, “Jesus began to do and to teach.”

Continue reading

Fidel Castro Dies

 

Fidel Castro, who turned his island homeland into a vast prison of which he was the Warden, died yesterday at age 90.  My usual rule after someone dies is De mortuis nil nisi bonum, but I can think of nothing good about the life of Castro other than it now has ended.  Under his regime millions of his countrymen risked death at sea rather than submit to his rule, and I can think of no more damning indictment for any ruler.  A squalid dictator of the worst sort, Castro always received good press in some of the media in the West from leftists who were willing to forgive any sin if the proper Communist platitudes were spoken.  Castro leaves behind him a broken nation of slaves.  May they soon rise up and bring a new day to a free Cuba.

Less of Me

Something for the weekend.  Less of Me sung by the Statler Brothers.  I heard this song sung by the Statler Brothers endlessly back in the early seventies as my parents had the radio on in the kitchen tuned,  as always, to country western station WPRS in Paris, Illinois, as they prepared for work and my brother and I were still in our room before we got up to prepare for school.  Originally recorded by Glen Campbell in 1965, the song is a rendition in music of the poem A Creed by English-American poet Edgar Albert Guest which he wrote in 1909: Continue reading

Thanksgiving Day Proclamation 1946

orl-truman-turkey-os0044784669-20161122
By the President of the United States of America
A Proclamation
At this season, when the year is drawing to a close, tradition suggests and our hearts require that we render humble devotion to Almighty God for the mercies bestowed upon us by His goodness.

Devoutly grateful to Divine Providence for the richness of our endowment and the many blessings received, may we continue to give a good account of our stewardship by utilizing our resources in the service of mankind. May we have the vision and courage to accept and discharge honorably the responsibilities inherent in our strength by consecrating ourselves to the attainment of a better world.

Now, Therefore, I, Harry S. Truman, President of the United States of America, in consonance with the joint resolution of Congress approved December 26, 1941, do hereby proclaim Thursday, November 28, 1946, as a day of national thanksgiving; and I call upon the people of this Nation to observe that day by offering thanks to God for the bounties vouchsafed us, and by rededicating ourselves to the preservation of the “Blessings of Liberty” envisaged by our forefathers in the preamble to the Constitution.

In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United States of America to be affixed.

Done at the City of Washington this 28th day of October in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and forty-six and of the Independence of the United States of America the one hundred and seventy-first.

 

Happy Thanksgiving!

 

Happy Thanksgiving to all the readers, commenters and contributors of TAC!  I have an endless amount to thank God for, but I will limit myself to my bride of 34 years and counting, my two kids home with us for Thanksgiving Break, the fact that we are all in good health and that we are free men and women in a free land.  Please leave what you are thankful for in the comboxes.

The Pilgrims and Socialism

From  Of Plymouth Plantation, by Governor William Bradford:

All this while no supply was heard of, neither knew they when they might expect any. So they began to think how they might raise as much corn as they could, and obtain a better crop than they had done, that they might not still thus languish in misery. At length, after much debate of things, the Governor (with the advice of the chiefest amongst them) gave way that they should set corn every man for his own particular, and in that regard trust to themselves; in all other things to go on in the general way as before. And so assigned to every family a parcel of land, according to the proportion of their number, for that end, only for present use (but made no division for inheritance) and ranged all boys and youth under some family. This had very good success, for it made all hands very industrious, so as much more corn was planted than otherwise would have been by any means the Governor or any other could use, and saved him a great deal of trouble, and gave far better content. The women now went willingly into the field, and took their little ones with them to set corn; which before would allege weakness and inability; whom to have compelled would have been thought great tyranny and oppression. Continue reading

Johnny Cash: Thanksgiving

A reminder from the late, great Johnny Cash that we all have so much to thank God for when we sit down with our families this Thursday.  Perhaps we should also recall these words from Theodore Roosevelt in his final Thanksgiving Proclamation in 1908:

 

For the very reason that in material well-being we have thus abounded, we owe it to the Almighty to show equal progress in moral and spiritual things. With a nation, as with the individuals who make up a nation, material well-being is an indispensable foundation. But the foundation avails nothing by itself. That life is wasted, and worse than wasted, which is spent in piling, heap upon heap, those things which minister merely to the pleasure of the body and to the power that rests only on wealth. Upon material well-being as a foundation must be raised the structure of the lofty life of the spirit, if this Nation is properly to fulfil its great mission and to accomplish all that we so ardently hope and desire. The things of the body are good; the things of the intellect better; the best of all are the things of the soul; for, in the nation as in the individual, in the long run it is character that counts. Let us, therefore, as a people set our faces resolutely against evil, and with broad charity, with kindliness and good-will toward all men, but with unflinching determination to smite down wrong, strive with all the strength that is given us for righteousness in public and in private life.

Follow The American Catholic
Bookmark and Share
Subscribe by eMail

Enter your email:

Recent Comments
Archives
Our Visitors. . .
Our Subscribers. . .